TORONTO, Feb. 10, 2012 /CNW/ - Though Ontario's public has never been
properly informed about the plans, the provincial government is
planning a severe curtailment of health care funding growth that will
result in $3 billion or more being carved out of hospitals and OHIP,
warned the Ontario Health Coalition in a new report released today. If
the provincial government adopts the recommendation of former TD banker
Don Drummond, Chair of the government's Commission on Public Service
Reform, the cutbacks will increase to $4 billion. Don Drummond's
report, which will contain recommendations to restructure Ontario's
health care system, is expected to be released next Wednesday.
"The Health Minister has disguised radical plans for cutbacks by calling
them 'trade-offs' and 'reforms,'" noted Sue Hotte, a retiree and board
member of the Ontario Health Coalition. "But if you look at the
government's plans closely you can see that the numbers just don't add
up. The bottom line is that they are planning to cut hospital services
without providing enough money to support the existing patients
languishing on wait lists for nursing homes and home care. There is
simply no capacity to cut more hospital beds and download more
"The evidence from the government's own spending plans shows that the
planned cuts to hospital services will cause even worse rationing of
home care because there will be less money available for each home care
client, " added Natalie Mehra, coalition director. "Funding for home
care is already declining as a share of health spending. There is
already less money available per home care client, meaning that care is
more severely rationed and seniors are forced to pay user fees for
needed services. This will just make it worse.
"The public has been subjected to a barrage of PR dedicated to creating
a crisis to justify major restructuring," she added. "But the evidence
does not support the claims. Ontario is eighth out of ten provinces in
health spending. We are already near the bottom of the country. The
evidence shows that if anything is eating up the provincial budget, it
is not health care, it is tax cuts. The planned service cuts will cause
worsening access to care for seniors in order to pay for tax cuts that
mainly benefit the wealthy and corporations."
The coalition recommends that the government close two loopholes in the
Employer Health Tax to ensure that high-income earners pay a fairer
share. This measure would generate $2.4 billion to help relieve some
pressure, according to an analysis by economist Hugh Mackenzie.
The report lists a litany of urgent and unmet health care needs that are
not being addressed. Among the key findings:
The Ontario Auditor General has revealed that government funding
projections for the next two years mean $1 billion would have to be
carved out of hospital spending and $2.05 billion out of OHIP. At the
same time, home care funding increases would be less than one-third of
the rate of the last eight years and long-term care homes' funding
would be half the rate of the last eight years.
More than 30,000 Ontarians are waiting for a hospital bed, long-term
care placement or home care:
24,000 Ontarians are on wait lists for long-term care placement.
10,000 Ontarians are on wait lists for home care.
At any given time, 592 Ontarians are waiting in emergency departments
for hospital beds.
2,271 Alternate Level of Care (ALC) patients are waiting in hospital for
a long-term care bed, while 773 ALC patients are waiting in hospital
for another type of hospital bed and 135 ALC patients are waiting in
hospital for home care.
Ontario ranks at the bottom of comparable jurisdictions in emergency
department wait times for admission to hospital, a key indicator of
hospital bed shortages.
The details of the recommendation and the full report are at www.ontariohealthcoalition.ca
SOURCE Ontario Health Coalition
For further information:
Megan Cobean: 416-441-2502 (office)
Natalie Mehra: 416-230-6402 (cell)
Sue Hotte: 905-932-1646 (cell)
Economist Hugh Mackenzie 416-884-5378 (cell)